Professor Diana L Eck poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Diana L Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

diana_eck

From: “Eck, Diana L.”
Date: Feb 22, 2016 11:40
Subject: What is Happening to JNU?
To: “vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>” <vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>>

Dear Sir:

It is astonishing and deeply troubling to see that the lively discussion of critical issues at JNU has resulted in the arrest and detention of the JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiyya Kumar on charge of sedition.

Sedition? Is this a term that can be used in the context of a modern and distinguished University? Is it consistent with the character of a democratic nation or of a great university like JNU to criminalize dissent and bring police to the campus? We at Harvard have had difficult times of dissent and harsh criticism of the government and of the University itself. This is part of the free exchange of ideas and the freedom of speech that is necessary for the free institutions of democracy to thrive. This is not always easy in a university, but isn’t this who we are as institutions of learning? The perception that the Indian state is increasingly resorting to intervention to suppress views it finds threatening is itself threatening. Please do not acquiesce in this move to undermine a great university like JNU.

Sincerely,

Diana L. Eck

Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies
Frederick Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society
Harvard University

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